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Isurumuniya Viharaya

Located in the sacred city of Anuradhapura, the Isurumuniya Viharaya, sometimes called the Meghagiri Viharaya, is one of the more iconic temples in all of Sri Lanka that houses intricate stone carvings, sculptures, paintings and murals; a treasure trove for the history buff. Surrounded by the charming features of the Royal Pleasure Gardens, the Isurumuniya Viharaya still possesses remnants of its ancient grandeur.

Best Known For

  • The Isurumuniya Viharaya is best known for its possession of priceless artifacts in the form of murals, paintings, stone carvings and sculptures, along with ingenious architecture. However, it is the famous ‘Isurumuniya Lovers’ sculpture that many rush to witness, as it is a timeless example of the ancient crafting styles of the 6th Century Sri Lanka.

Interesting Facts

  • The Isurmuniya Viharaya, which was then known as the Meghagiri Viharaya, was built by King Devanampiya Tissa of the ancient Anuradhapura Kingdom in the 3rd Century BC.
  • It was during this time that Bhikkuni Sangamitta, Emperor Asoka’s daughter, arrived from India with the sapling of the sacred Bodhi Tree, resulting in the planting of the sapling at the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya, subsequently making Buddhism the official religion of the country.
  • The Isurumuniya Viharaya is believed to be the first place in which the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha was kept and protected for many centuries, right up until the shift of power from Anuradhapura to Polonaruwa in the 11th Century AC.
  • The highlighting factors at present, however, are the immaculate carvings that have been well preserved for generations to witness and understand the country’s illustrious history.
  • Such notable carvings are the Isurumuniya Lovers, the Elephant Pond and the Royal Family.
  • It is, however, the sculpture of the Isurumuniya Lovers that draw the most attention, due to the number of stories it shrouds itself in.
  • One notable story is that the sculpture is the depiction of King Dutugemunu’s son, Prince Saliya and Asokamala, who is believed to have been from a lower caste, resulting in the king’s son giving up the throne.
  • Others argue that the sculpture is a depiction of God Siva and Goddess Parvathi.
  • Another intriguing feature of the viharaya is the Elephant Pond that boasts of uniquely crafted sculptures of playful elephants and a horse-faced man in royal pose.
  • It is believed that the sculptures depict the gods of rain, Agni and Parjanya.
  • What makes it even more enticing is the pleasant surroundings of the temple, as it is surrounded by the natural splendour of the Royal Pleasure Garden.

Times, Seasons and Tips

  • The Isurumuniya Viharaya can be visited from 7.00am to 8.00pm, however, the ideal times to visit the temple is during the morning hours, so as to avoid the crowds.
  • Please do keep in mind that this temple in Anuradhapura is a sacred one, therefore it is important that you adhere to the rules and regulations set forth by the relevant authorities.
  • The most notable being the attire, thus it is imperative that you dress modestly, according to Buddhist religious tradition.
  • Please do not do anything that would deface or destroy any of the stone carvings or artifacts preserved within the temple complex.
  • Keep in mind that photography is not allowed in the temple.

The Isurumuniya Viharaya may have lost its original grandeur due to the passage time, however, with the remains that exist today, especially its sculptures, paintings and peaceful surroundings, it is possible to resurrect quite a detailed image of its original grandeur; perfect for the history enthuse.

Title image by: Tourism Board The information displayed is provided by Isurumuniya Viharaya

Location info

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Tickets

Entrance Fee
LKR 200

Tickets At

Guided Tour

Sigiritrip Tours
Apple Vacations

Type

Culture and Heritage

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